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Nicholson, Scott (The Farm)



Author Scott Nicholson appeared in the literary world in the year 2000 with the short story collection Thank You for the Flowers, drawing critical acclaim and spurring him on. Now, four novels later, he has become quite a voice in the written tomes of horror. His books are regularly recommended for high honors and he shows no signs of either stopping or slowing down. His writing style has been compared to the likes of Stephen King and Peter Straub, drawing praise from such authors as Bentley Little and Sharyn McCrumb. And while calling him a “horror writer” does not come even close to encompassing his abilities, Nicholson continues to redefine the genre with his tales of Appalachian Gothic characters and extraordinarily macabre circumstances. No matter under what section it sits at the bookstore, his work still packs a literary punch.

Scott Johnson: You”ve had five books published (Thank You for the Flowers, The Red Church, The Harvest, The Manor, and The Home) since 2000. How has your process changed since book number one?

Scott Nicholson: Every book is different, and the writing process for each is different. They assume lives of their own, though the publisher”s production schedule is fairly predictable. I”ve never really had an outline, except for the new manuscript I just started, and it”s 10 pages. Takes some of the suspense out to know where it”s headed. For The Farm, all I had was a vague, one-page document—and that was all the editor had, too. I always wondered what he was telling the people at the weekly sales staff meetings.

SJ: Your newest novel, The Farm, is slated for a 2006 release. Give us a brief non-spoiler plot description.

SN: A 200-year-old Appalachian horseback preacher, carnivorous goats, a libertarian survivalist, a religion professor, a ghostly ex-wife, a 12-year-old stoner Goth, a little mountain town called Solom…

SJ: With your book The Manor, you drew inspiration from a real place. The Home was inspired by the death of a boy at a group home for troubled children? Where else do you look for inspiration?

SN: I keep my eyes open for local legends or anything really strange. Phrases work their way into my head, street names, place names, people names. They all stir around together and make ideas by themselves. I can’t really take credit for that part, but I do take credit for spending the time typing it up.

SJ: What writers influenced your writing style? Who do you consider the masters of the craft?

SN: Well, all your favorites become your style, and hopefully you don’t ever do it consciously. In the beginning, I was consciously emulating Kurt Vonnegut, Ernest Hemingway, and then Ray Bradbury, but I wasn’t much good at it. I became Scott pretty quickly, for better or for worse. Same way when I was a musician; I never had the patience to sit down and learn songs note for note. It was much more fun and interesting to make up my own.

SJ: Do you consider yourself a “horror” author? If so, why did you pick the genre over the others out there?

SN: I haven’t really picked a genre. The market did it for me. I’ve written nearly everything under the sun, including a few chapters of a porn novel, but the horror sold the best and seemed the most natural. It’s just what’s out there. I have three unpublished novels that are not horror; I would call one of them “weird fiction,” one “romantic suspense,” and one “literary thriller.” I’ve written some children’s books and I’m working on a young adult fantasy series. I’ve written poetry, song lyrics, science fiction, mystery, realism. Most of that stuff is packed away in boxes in the attic.

SJ: Many of your books are described as “Appalachian gothic thrillers.” What exactly does that phrase mean to you? Why have you centered much of your work around the Appalachian mountain region?

SN: Since I made the phrase up, then I get to decide what it means. My work has a strong regional element and it gives the books a connection and, to some degree, a marketing angle. But sense of place is important to many writers: Lansdale’s East Texas, James Lee Burke’s Louisiana bayou, Dean Koontz’s Southern California, Stephen King’s Maine, Bentley Little’s Southwest. Nobody’s really doing anything like this. There are “Appalachian writers” and “Southern writers,” and obviously a lot of horror authors do the small-town horror, but nobody else is combining those three elements.

SJ: You have a knack for creating characters that resonate with the readers. Where do they come from, and what do you think is the key to good characterization?

SN: Paying attention to real people. They are all endlessly fascinating. There are no stereotypes, there are no “normals,” there is no middle class. We are all walking bags of fear, hopes, dreams, prejudices, and desires. When I go into a character’s head, I feel like that character. That’s why I almost always use a third-person limited omniscient viewpoint, with the viewpoint shifting between different characters. Usually there are eight or ten viewpoint characters in my books, though obviously they vary in the amount of “stage time.”

SJ: How long have you been writing? What was your first attempt at a novel?

SN: I’m in my ninth year of serious writing. It seems like I’m just now starting. I’d written a half-dozen short stories and jumped into a novel, deciding that would be the only way to really have a career. It was both harder and easier than I imagined. I did write a short novel in high school, but it was mostly just a way to kill time in class. I have it somewhere.

SJ: What attracts you to being a writer?

SN: Solitude and self-reliance. Unless you’re a celebrity, nobody else can do it for you, or will do it for you. As a writer, you really are the master of your own fate. Publishing mishaps aside, you control your career. If things go wrong, be inventive and work harder. Try another genre. Simply don’t take ‘no’ for an answer. You get the fruits of your labor.

SJ: You”ve published more than forty stories in six countries, five books, and numerous newspaper articles. What was your favorite piece on which to work, and why?

SN: Well, they are each the favorite at the time. By the time a book comes out, it’s nearly two years from the time I wrote the opening
line, and so feels like the work and experience of a different person. The current project is always the most interesting. I don’t read my novels after they’re published. I would only say things to edit or improve. I do enough of that in rewrites.

SJ: Do you watch many horror movies? Name some of your favorites.

SN: I love good horror movies, but there aren’t that many good ones. I am too easily disappointed. I guess because I think like a creator, and I need the events to make sense. I can’t just watch with a dropped jaw. I still need engaging characters and a good story.

That said, I like The Devil’s Backbone, Dead Birds, Session 9, The Ring, Dead Ringers, Love Object, quirky films like that. And of course classics like Rosemary’s Baby, Night of the Living Dead, Freaks, The Last Man on Earth. Movies that do more than just steal 90 minutes of your life, ones that give you a little something back.

SJ: What advice would you give to any aspiring young writer?

SN: Write in as many different genres and for as many different reasons as possible. It’s okay to write for money, it’s okay to write for love. Eventually, if you keep at it, the world and your heart will tell you what you should be doing.

SJ: I know you”re working on a project for 2007. Can you tell us anything about it?

SN: Right now it’s an outdoor adventure novel with some sort of vampire hybrid. Actually, I could leave the vampires out and it would probably be a better novel, but, hey, they say I’m a horror writer.

SJ: It”s been said that horror fans are the most passionate out there. Do you agree or disagree? What”s your experience been with fans?

SN: Well, it depends on which community you hang out with. Science fiction fans can get rather snarky over relatively meaningless issues. I’m sure every community has its talking points and flash points. I like the horror community because of the shared base of experience, but like any community, you have the same percentage of jerks and saints as in the population at large.

SJ: What”s your own personal cure for the dreaded “writer”s block?”

SN: Desperation. Fear of failure. Fear of always having a day job. Fear of getting dropped by the publisher. Fear of having nothing to say. Fear of boredom. Fear of being “normal.”

SJ: Many people imagine horror authors as unflappable, without a fearful bone in their bodies. What scares Scott Nicholson?

SN: Threats to loved ones. Not the sex pervert in the bushes; those are mostly fictional fears. The real ones are insidious: leukemia, car wrecks, experiencing cruelty or rejection at the hands of others, struggling with self-doubt. Those are things that leave you helpless for the most part. You can beat up the perverts, but you can’t live someone’s life for them or always take away their pain.

SJ: Let”s assume The Home sells a billion copies, and so do your next two. What then? What would you be doing if you never had to worry about money?

SN: I’d travel, continue to write, and maybe make a movie. I have done some screenwriting and would ike to do more. I also want to get back to playing music and painting. I’m a terrible artist, and it would be a great challenge.

SJ: Have you had any “surreal fan” moments?

SN: More like “surreal bookstore adventures.” I guess the strangest thing was this guy who talked to me at my signing table for 15 minutes, left without a book, then a few minutes later hustles in and nervously says, “Here.” He tosses a ten-dollar bill on the table and hurries out again, like he’s making a cocaine delivery. I guess he figured I was a “starving artist” and felt sorry for me. Hey, paid better than selling books!

SJ: What one thing would you like fans to know about Scott Nicholson, the person?

SN: I desperately need your money.

Scott Nicholson”s latest release, The Home, came out this year to rave reviews (get it via Evilshop here). His next book, The Farm, is set for release in 2006. To learn more about Nicholson and his works, visit his website at right here.

Discuss this interview and the works of Scott Nicholson in our forums!

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Exclusive: Sony Enters a House of Demons; Release Date, Box Art, and Trailer Inside



“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” fans, pay heed! We’ve got the exclusive reveal on a brand new film coming from Sony Entertainment by the name of House of Demons and it stars Amber Benson, who you may remember as Tara from “Buffy”. The film follows four friends who venture into a home that was once owned by a Manson-like cult only to have strange, supernatural events haunt their every waking moment.

House of Demons was written and directed by Patrick Meaney and stars Dove Meir, Chloe Dykstra, Morgan Peter Brown, Tiffany Smith, Taliesin Jaffe, Whitney Moore, Jeff Torres, and Kaytlin Borgen.

We can confirm that the movie will be coming out on DVD (check out that artwork) and digital platforms on February 6 and that it will include deleted scenes, a director’s commentary, and three behind-the-scenes featurettes. To give you a feel of what the movie will be like, we’ve also got an exclusive clip below!

Gwen, Matthew, Katrina, and Spencer were best friends for years, until a terrible tragedy tore them apart. Ten years later, they reunite in a rented house for a destination wedding. What they don’t know is that in the late ‘60s, the house was home to a Manson Family-like cult run by Frazer, a charismatic former scientist pushing the boundaries of human consciousness. His experiments echo through time and manifest everyone’s darkest fears and memories, blurring time as Frazer’s cult and the present day collide over the course of one long night, where everyone must confront their darkness or be destroyed by it.

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Go Behind the Scenes of Flatliners with This Exclusive Clip



The remake of Flatliners is on its way to your house from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment; and to celebrate its arrival, we have an exclusive behind-the-scenes clip for you featuring the film’s star, Ellen Page. Dig it!

Flatliners is available now on digital platforms and will hit December 26 on Blu-ray and DVD formats.

Directed by Niels Arden Oplev with a story by Peter Filardi and a screenplay by Ben Ripley, Flatliners was produced by Laurence Mark, Michael Douglas, and Peter Safran and executive produced by Michael Bederman, Robert Mitas, David Blackman, Brian Oliver, and Hassan Taher.

Five medical students, hoping to gain insight into the mystery of what lies beyond the confines of life, embark on a daring and dangerous experiment. By stopping their hearts for short periods of time, each triggers a near-death experience. As the investigation becomes more and more perilous, they are forced to confront the sins of their pasts, as well as contend with the supernatural consequences of trespassing to the other side.


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#Brainwaves Episode 70: A Very Brainwaves Christmas



It’s that special time of the year again, kids! Yep, Knetter, Creepy, and the gang are all set to jingle your balls with a special episode of Brainwaves: Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio… “A Very Brainwaves Christmas!” Expect surprises, call-ins, and all the stupidity that your brain can handle! Just be leery of where Joe hangs his mistletoe.

Join us this coming Wednesday, December 20th, at 8:00PM PT/11:00PM ET for all the shenanigans fit to be had!

It’s radio without a safety net, kids. It’s Brainwaves: Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio.


Listen to Stitcher

Brainwaves: Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio is available to subscribe to on iTunes. Not an iTunes user?  You can also listen right here on the site.

Spooky, funny, touching, honest, offensive, and at times completely random, Brainwaves airs live every Wednesday evening beginning at 8:00 PM Pacific Time (11:00 midnight Eastern Time) and runs about 3 hours per episode.

Knetter and Creepy will be taking your calls LIVE and unscreened via Skype, so let your freak flags fly! Feel free to add BrainWavesTalk to your Skype account so you can reach us, or call in from a landline or cellphone – 858 480 7789. The duo also take questions via Twitter; you can reach us at @BrainwavesRadio or @UncleCreepy, @JoeKnetter, or @MrDarkDC and @JonathanBarkan using the hashtag #BrainWaves.

Have a ghost story or a paranormal story but can’t call in? Feel free to email it to me directly at with “Brainwaves Story” in your subject line. You can now become a fan of the show via the official… BRAINWAVES FACEBOOK PAGE!

Brainwaves: Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio is hosted live (with shows to be archived as they progress) right here on Dread Central. You can tune in and listen via the FREE TuneIn Radio app or listen to TuneIn right through the website!

For more information and to listen live independent of TuneIn, visit the Deep Talk Radio Network website, “like” Deep Talk Radio on Facebook, and follow Deep Talk Radio on Twitter. And don’t forget to subscribe to Brainwaves on iTunes.

Brainwaves Contact!

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